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Chase ventures where WaMu didn’t go: commercial banking

Tampa Bay Business Journal
The chase is on for the banking business of 2,000 middle-market companies in Florida, including 500 to 750 firms in the Tampa Bay area.

On the heels of its conversion of former Washington Mutual branches and systems, Chase, the U.S. consumer and commercial banking brand of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), is making an aggressive push into commercial banking a line of business WaMu did not emphasize.

Companies with sales between $10 million and $500 million are the sweet spot for Mark Bensabat, Chase’s newly named commercial banking manager for Florida.

Bensabat, a Florida State University graduate who spent the past 28 years in banking in Louisiana, most recently as president of the Chase Baton Rouge market, heads the Florida commercial banking operation from an office in Orlando. He’s looking for managers to head commercial banking operations in Tampa, Orlando and Miami, and those managers in turn will hire their lending teams.

Chase faces fierce competition from established national and regional players as well as some community banks. But a broad array of banking products and a willingness to extend credit during an economic downturn could give Chase an advantage, observers said.

Entering the market in a down cycle is a plus as far as Bensabat is concerned.

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